Journalist Gets Probation For Impersonating Officials

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(AP) A journalist was sentenced to one year of probation after pleading guilty to impersonating federal officials to obtain documents in an economic espionage case.

Avi Lidgi, 27, of Thousand Oaks, Calif., was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court on charges that he falsely identified himself to get documents in a case against two Japanese scientists accused of stealing research material on Alzheimer’s disease from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Lidgi made three telephone calls May 17 to get a list of the government’s exhibits faxed to him, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Lidgi pretended to be a federal prosecutor and an assistant to a federal judge.

Lidgi was a research assistant in the Los Angeles bureau of the Tokyo-based Yomiuri Shimbun, which has more than 10 million subscribers. The newspaper has issued a statement saying it prohibits employees from falsely identifying themselves and that the reporter acted on his own.

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